Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Last year’s predictions: how did I do? And 2013 predictions

Well, I got three out of my five predictions right.

At the beginning of 2012 I forecast the following:

1. One Eurozone country at least will leave the Euro and, shock horror, it won’t lead to the end of the world but instead that country’s exports will rocket.  I got this wrong. Greece is still hanging on to the Eurozone helped by billions of Euros from German taxpayers. How long will this charade go on to save the embarrassment of Angela Merkel and José Barroso? Greece WILL leave the Eurozone eventually, it’s just a matter of when. Other Southern European countries will then follow.

2. Boris will win a second term as Mayor of London. I got this right. Well done Boris but may he never win the Conservative Party leadership!
3. The Olympics will be a success but paranoid security requirements will cause chaos in and around London (if you work in London and can work from home from July to September then do so!). The Opening Ceremony will be a bit embarrassing compared to Beijing but, hey, I guess that is the price you pay when you cannot force thousands of acrobats to train 18 hours a day, seven days a week (without pay) in preparation. I got this a third right. The Olympic Games were a success; in fact, they were more than a success: they were the best ever Games in the Modern Olympiad. I was wrong about the security: it worked miles better than any airport and the guards were polite (rather than acting like jailers at Belmarsh). The transport system also worked because hundreds of thousands of Londoners left the Capital for the entire period of the Olympics and Paralympic Games. I was very wrong about the Opening Ceremony: it was the best show I have ever watched. Danny Boyle should have been knighted for managing to encapsulate Britain’s glorious past so perfectly. It is a disgrace he did not get any New Year’s Honour. UPDATE: it has been reported, Mr Boyle turned down a knighthood to stay as “a man of the people”.
4. Obama will hold on to the Presidency, just! As we all know, he won. But he leads a divided America. Half the United States population did not vote for Barack Obama.
5. Ed Miliband will still be Labour leader by the end of the year (which will be great for the Conservatives). In fact, it was a good year for Ed Miliband. He has cleverly shored up his core vote before moving his tanks on to the Conservative lawns with his talk on “One Nation”. The Labour leader will desperately be hoping the British public will forget he and and his sidekick Ed Balls were on the bridge at the time of the financial meltdown in 2008.

I’ve had a think about my predictions for 2013 (six this year!). Let’s see how I get on:

1. One main prediction for this year is it will be pretty boring. But after the sporting and patriotic events of 2012, a change is as good as a rest. That’s not to say we won’t get a little excited about the Royal birth in the Summer. Hey, I’ll toss a coin and predict the baby will be a girl.

2. Both Coalition parties – Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – will perform very badly in the England County Council elections in May. Cameron and co. will put it down to “mid-term blues”. I will put it down to another nail in the coffin for the Conservatives’ chances of winning the General Election in 2015: Opposition and a leadership contest will be that bit closer for the Tories. On the yellow peril front, the sharks will start circling around Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg but he’ll be safe in 2013.

3. UKIP’s stock will continue to rise. The party will do well in the County Elections. Nigel Farage’s troops won’t necessarily win many seats but they will deny the Conservatives a bundle. This will be another milestone on their journey to European Elections victory in 2014.

4. The economy will hardly grow this year. The only thing which will change is more debt will be added to the already huge pile, which currently stands at over £1 Trillion!

5. Andrew Mitchell will return to Government (probably not until the year-end) and serving police officers will be charged with misconduct in a public office.

6. Chris Huhne will escape a jail sentence when the charge against him is watered down.

Happy New Year.

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UK debt dangerously out of control

Where’s Cameron? I am told he is sat behind George (we hope!)

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today stood up at the despatch box and delivered his Winter Autumn Statement on the state of the public finances and the measures he is taking to fix them. Although he is not fixing them.

Constrained by the Liberal Democrats, who are becoming less representative of Britain by the day, the Chancellor can’t take the drastic action required to reduce the national debt. He can go on about reducing the deficit until the cows come home but it is the debt which will ruin our children’s and their children’s chances in life. Net debt will rise to 80% of GDP over the coming years.
There was some good news. Labour’s scheduled 3p rise in fuel duty in January has been scrapped. The income tax personal allowance is to go up to £9,440 next year, £235 more than previously announced. The yellow peril’s “mansion tax” has been shown the door (Clegg’s deluded look on the front bench shows how mad he is) and the total ISA limit (cash and shares) will increase to £11,520 from next April.
The Chancellor announced a number of infrastructure projects paid for by the son of PFI – PF2. Same method, different name. What this means in reality is big infrastructure projects like extending the Northern Line in London and dualling the A30 will be paid for by private companies which the UK taxpayer will have to pay back with interest, fees etc at a later date. That is the government is paying for today on the backs of the unborn. In other words, more debt.
You see the national debt is not some monopoly money on a playing board, it is REAL money, which must be paid back. And who must pay it back: you and I through taxation. So if this Government keeps on borrowing more to pay for luxuries we can no longer afford like the still very generous welfare benefits, a bloated NHS and £2bn in “international aid” to help the third world build windfarms, the next generation will have to pay Government more in taxes to pay the money back to the banks and our foreign creditors like China. That’s less money in the next generation’s pockets to pay for excesses of today’s generation: it is criminal.
There are now very few politicians in parliament who get it. Clacton’s Conservative MP Douglas Carswell is the exception. Anyone who wants to understand how we got into this mess should read his latest book, “The End of Politics”.


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The Left want to abolish our free press

Envy of the world: British press
Why is anyone surprised the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party want to bring in state regulation of the media in the UK? For my international friends who consume news which hasn’t been preoccupied with Hugh Grant’s case for privacy or Steve Coogan’s protestations about the press writing stories about his latest girlfriend, unless of course he is trying to sell comedy show tickets that is, our illustrious prime minister in an attempt to distract the public from his own cosy relationships with news editors and proprietors decided eighteen month ago to have a judge-led inquiry into media ethics.
Anti-free press: Lord Justice Leveson
Well the said inquiry has now reported. And low and behold a member of the liberal judiciary – Sir Brian Leveson – decided state regulation of the media would be a good idea. Just as I suppose it is a good idea in Zimbabwe, Syria and Russia? Hmmm.
The biggest cheerleaders for Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendation are the Left. Naturally. Don’t people realise the core ideology of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats is the suppression of the masses so they, the elite, can lord over them. Just like Stalin. Just like Hitler. Both men of the Left.  
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Nick Clegg should be compared to mass killers of history: he wouldn’t be capable of such organisation and leadership. No, but Nick Clegg is a socialist, who loves to keep the masses in their place, feed them welfare benefits with a little note telling the poor beggars who to vote for if they want the handouts to keep on coming. Clegg is the same as Labour leader Ed Miliband except Miliband and his political father, Gordon Brown, didn’t even try to hide their sinister ideology.
So, it is quite natural for them to want to suppress the press: it is an extension of their command and control of the people. It will make it even easier to ensure the public hear only what the liberal elite want them to hear. It all helps to keep you and I in our place whilst the “politburo” gets on with the business of power.
As you will have gathered I am wholly against Leveson’s recommendation that a “independent” regulator is set up and is “underpinned” by legislation. That’s a fancy way of saying the state should control the media. What was the point of Britain going to war twice and bringing down communism if we now have idiot politicians agreeing with such a dangerous recommendation from a not so bright judge? Got to be a bit careful haven’t I? In a couple of years time writing the last sentence might get me thrown into prison!
Privacy on his terms: British actor Hugh Grant
This is the reality of the Leveson Report. Politicians who are in bed with those poor little celebrities who want to be able to use the press when they have a book to sell but want them to go away when they are getting up to immoral activities are being pressurised by these same people into shutting down the free press in this country, a press which has been free for hundreds of years. This is how far our political system has sunk.
It was good to see David Cameron say he was against state regulation of the media because only the Government can table legislation in the House of Commons. But he has his hands tied as he is in Coalition with a political party who came eighth in a Westminster election last week: the last Party that happened to was the SDP and they were wound up shortly afterwards. So, the Liberal Democrats who have crashed out of the political mainstream are going to be able to dictate the law of the land?
Worried: Can Cameron prevent state regulation of the media?
If Cameron lets these yellow peril pygmies ruin our democracy by removing one of its core pillars – a free press – we are no better than Syria or Zimbabwe. 
We are living in dangerous times. Only true leadership and a party which stands up for Britain will save us. Which party is this? Considering the Conservatives came behind Ukip at the Westminster by-election in Rotherham last week, the public are not so sure.


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Is the Coalition about to implode?

Never mind Bashar al-Assad using the London Olympics to do some violent acts whilst the world is looking the other way, it seems Prime Minister David Cameron has mortared the Lords Reform Bill the Liberal Democrats so desperately wanted to ensure they held the balance of power ad infinitum in the upper chamber at Westminster. And Nick Clegg didn’t wait long to retaliate, firing a volley of missiles about “broken agreements” at a press conference this afternoon.

There have been spats before between the Tories and the Yellow Peril, most noticeably on Cameron’s faux Treaty veto last year in Brussels but usually Clegg just sulks in his office rather than come and sit next to the PM in the House of Commons. But since Parliament is in a recess this form of attack can’t be used so Mr Clegg has hit the airwaves to say the scrapping of the pointless Lords Reform Bill “breaks (the) Coalition contract”.
Fine, so when are you going to leave the ministerial limos and grace and favour houses and head back to perpetual Opposition Mr Clegg? Today sounds like a good time. After all, come 2015 your party will be annihilated. 
Clegg continued at his press conference to tell the Tories they can get stuffed on the forthcoming boundary review legislation, which would see constituency boundaries re-drawn and the number of MPs decreased. This would redress the balance of power at the next General Election ensuring Labour do not have an unfair advantage (as they do now) over the Conservatives. The Lib Dem leader has announced his party will not support this legislation as retribution for the Lords Reform being scrapped.
The Lib Dem leader should check his copy of the Coalition Agreement and Section 23 on Boundary Reviews in particular:

We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for
the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies. We will whip both Parliamentary parties in both Houses to support a simple majority referendum on the Alternative Vote, without prejudice to the positions parties will take during such a referendum.

The Boundary Review had nothing to do with House of Lords reform. It was linked to the AV referendum which the Liberal Democrats were given (and lost) last year.
As Cameron should have done in May 2010, we now need to form a Minority Government and go to the country say on November 15th when the Police Commissioner elections take place and when funnily enough Louise Mensch’s seat is scheduled to have its by-election.
It’s not as if the economy has improved under a Coalition Government – quite the opposite. Time for Cameron and Clegg to act in the “national interest” and give the country a chance to elect a strong single party Government again.


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Listen up Cameron, speaking the truth wins elections

A year ago, most people were looking at George Osborne as the successor to David Cameron, should he unfortunately get run over by a bus. But since the ‘omnishambles‘ of the budget back in March and the fact he can’t make up his mind to be Chancellor or political strategist, his form has taken a downward trajectory. And quite frankly, I never saw Osborne as the next leader of the Conservative Party anyway as he is as vacuous as Cameron and once bitten, the membership would be very shy indeed.

The only true Tories in the Cabinet are Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove. IDS has worked tirelessly to fight the civil service tooth and nail to get his welfare reforms through parliament but he is yet to see any of his changes implemented – millions of people are still creaming billions off the state whilst sitting at home all day playing on their Xboxes, which you and I are paying for. For the Universal Benefit to become reality, a computer system probably more complicated than the failed NHS computer will be needed. And IT and Governments go together like oil and water.

But Michael Gove is in a different league. He is a Tory who is actually changing the education system in this country daily. Free schools, Academies and now serious policies to scrap GCSEs and replace them with O-Levels. He hasn’t gone around, unlike Yellow Peril universities secretary Vince Cable, saying it is the nasty, evil universities which are failing young people by not letting them in even if they can’t read and write. No, Michael Gove has laid the blame firmly at the doors of the primary and secondary schools and a culture of “competitive dumbing down” which was created by New Labour during their thirteen years of disastrous rules. Labour introduced “prizes for all”, “nobody can fail”. They introduced league tables which instead of improving schools forced them to dumb down and teach to the test. Schools were ably assisted in their league table ranking by corrupt exam boards who marketed their exam papers as easier than their competitors. They shout “choose us, we’ll ensure our questions are easier.” One question in science GCSE in fact asks: “What do you use to view stars? A telescope or a microscope.” I kid you not. When you see those screaming sixteen year old girls in the newpaper each August showing off their ten A*s and then universities and employers find they can’t string a sentence together or add up you now know why!

Blair and Brown deliberately allowed exams to get easier so they could say their education policies were succeeding. This not only fails employers, it fails the students themselves. If you have passed all your exams and then can’t even mentally calculate the right change for a customer this will hit the young person’s self-esteem very hard.

Blair set the target that 50% of all school-leavers must go to university. This was wrong and I refuse to mince my words like New Labour politicians did for thirteen years which led to a bankrupt nation, economically and intellectually: 50% of all school-leavers are not academically capable of going to university! Frankly, they aren’t clever enough as a result of their genetics – no level of social-engineering will fix that and why should we want to. I do not want to live in a country full of academic lefties. I want a broad spectrum of jobs and vocations for the next generation to go into. We need non-academic people probably MORE than academic people. That doesn’t mean they are inferior to more-academically gifted children. It means they have talents elsewhere – for instance in a trade like electrician or plumber, where they can expect to earn much more than a graduate does now with a devalued degree caused by the ludicrous imposition of the 50% target.

The above point was raised on BBC Question Time last night. Labour’s frontbencher Andy Burham almost agreed the 50% target was wrong. They probably knew it at the time but Labour are so obsessed in their false belief that the Conservative Party deliberately prevented people from certain socio-economic groups from going to university they thought it was right to dumb down the schools and exams systems to shoe-horn non-academic students into university, where the only thing they achieve is £10,000 worth of debt. That’s Labour economic policy all over: debt upon debt upon debt.

Back to Michael Gove. Along with IDS he is speaking the truth. And it grates against the beliefs of the socialist Nick Clegg and his party. Nick Clegg is your classic socialist, who once he had been privately educated, he couldn’t wait to pull the ladder up behind him. Socialists love to keep the masses under control with a sheep dipping, one size fits all education system. Lump everyone together and then no one gets above their station, eh? Well, that is morally wrong. Not every child is the same. We are all unique – that’s something that makes socialists sick. How can they command and control from on high if the plebs start to think for themselves and are encouraged to do so. No, they want to move children through an education system that fits the script and the targets not tailor-learning to the individual through different qualification streams which Michael Gove is proposing we go back to with ‘O’-Levels and CSEs.

This country’s education system is frankly a disgrace. Ever since New Labour got hold of it, we have slipped further down the global league tables of education attainment. These are the league tables which really matter as multi-national corporations look at them when deciding where to set up shop. Hmm, should a global engineering firm go to the UK where sixteen year olds leave school unable to fully read, write and add up or shall we go to Singapore where using calculators for basic arithmetic is unheard of?

Michael Gove gets it. The Conservative activists love it. If David Cameron doesn’t get behind him, it’s not only Clegg’s position he will need to worry about.


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Stop spending our money

A quote from Justice Secretary Ken Clarke on Sky News earlier was telling: “Public consultation is how we do Government these days.” One could infer from what Mr Clarke said it wasn’t always the case. And, of course, it wasn’t. When we had real leaders running the country, they ploughed on with the mandate given to them by the electorate. As I found when I was a councillor, the return-rate for consultation questionnaires is abysmal. In my view, the reason for this is the public don’t want to be bothered with the minutiae of government: that’s what they elect politicians to do.

But many of the politicians of today are so weak and feeble they must ask “mummy and daddy” – i.e. the general public – permission to almost go to the Treasury toilet. May I remind them the great British public are too busy being real mothers and fathers to their own children and getting on with their own jobs to have to veto every decision taken by government. Just do it – and if we don’t like it we will sack you at the next election. You are not our children – you are our servants. Get to work.

This talk of consultation is because of the latest Coalition Government U-turn – this time on the Pasty tax. Not wishing to go overboard with the food metaphors but this was a right political hot potato which should never have made it to second base in the budget drafting process (that’s if there was even a second base!) let alone make it all the way to the dispatch box. It was only ever going to end in tears if two Conservative chaps who have never had to scrape around for some change to buy a pint of milk at the end of the month decided to tax the working man’s lunch. And so it has passed. Chancellor Osborne is so sorry for his bad behaviour and has promised The Sun he has listened to the ticking off he has received and will try harder next time. There’s one word for that action: weak.

Taxing pasties might not have been the brightest idea but please don’t compound it by doing a U-Turn after half your parliamentary party has gone to their local media to tell their constituents what a sensible idea it is. Clegg does a good enough job at trashing the Tories – you don’t need your own side making fools of your backbenchers as well.

Of course, if we had a proper Conservative Government, we wouldn’t need to touch the beloved Cornish pasty. We’d cut public spending to force down the deficit. There’s plenty of scope. Hardly anything has been cut in the last two years – in fact the Government is borrowing more than Gordon Brown ever did to spend on a bloated welfare state to keep those who refuse to work tucked up in bed until midday everyday. And then there is the NHS which recently spent £17 on a gluten-free pizza, which doesn’t include handling and delivery charges. See? – plenty of scope.

I have a straightforward message to help the Government cut the deficit and bring down our debt: stop spending our money! As Aleksandr Orlov says: “Simples”.


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Cameron caved into Clegg over top rate of tax decrease

There was a reason Labour didn’t touch the top rate of income tax until Gordon Brown finally allowed insanity to take a grip on him. Because they knew it fed economic growth and brought in the billions of taxes for them to spend on creating the client state with millions gratefully dependent on Labour handouts. However, this all changed when Gordon Brown in a stroke signalled to the rest of the world back in 2009 that Britain was not a fan of business when he raised the top rate to 50p.

Britain, along with Germany, was the financial powerhouse of Europe during the years when the rate at which the Government stopped taxing income was held at 40p. Gone were the days of Labour Governments raising income tax to 83p and Labour Chancellors saying the “tax the rich until the pips squeak”. Britain was open for business.

But after thirteen years of profligate spending during the Blair-Brown years the chickens came home to roost and the economy took a nose-dive. Gordon Brown saw his opportunity to whack up the top rate to 50p and thereby slammed the UK plc shop door firmly shut.

Labour were duly kicked out of office in 2010 and we then had a Tory Chancellor in George Osborne who instinctively knew he must reverse Brown’s decision and take the top rate back to 40p. It would put the open sign back on the UK plc shop door. It wouldn’t solve the financial crisis overnight but it would certainly turn us in the right direction. The proof is that low taxation grows economies as was seen in the 1980s and 1990s until Labour got their wrecking ball out in 1997.

But it seems, according to the excellent Tim Montgomerie over at the Conservative Home parish, George Osborne was scuppered at the last moment during this March Budget preparations by the smarmy and quite revolting Nick Clegg. The Liberal Democrat leader told David Cameron the top rate must only drop to 45p and Cameron said: “Yes, sir.”

Nick Clegg is a man who leads a party which has only 1/6 of the seats in the House of Commons but is treated by the Prime Minister as if he is the senior partner. What would have happened if Cameron had said “no”? Nothing. Clegg would have buckled and ordered his troops to go through the Aye lobby to rubber stamp the Budget. Because they will always put the ministerial limo before their principles and we would get a good Tory Government backed up by the Yellow Peril. But instead, Cameron caved into Clegg and we have a Liberal Democrat-led Government as a result. It’s working out, isn’t it?

I am still believe in the Conservative Party and our core values but I just wishe the Conservative leader would talk about them more. Tim Montgomerie said the same thing yesterday:

If staunch Tories like Tim are saying this openly, Cameron is in trouble. As I’ve said before, we should never have gone into coalition with the Liberals. If we had gone to the country again in October 2010, we would now have a Tory majority Government and if Cameron dared to behave like this in a pure Tory Government, he would be gone in that “sudden, unsentimental and brutal” fashion very soon indeed.